A Greek Letter Found in Chersonesus Taurica and Interpretation of the Term ΣΑΣΤΗΡ (IOSPE I2. 401)

Makarov Igor A.

The author publishes a short business letter on a fragment of an amphora from Sinope found during excavations in the northern part of Chersonesus Taurica in 2000 (directed by S.G. Ryzhov). On the basis of some peculiarities, including orthographical ones, the letter is dated to 375–325 BC. The text includes the noun θυv λακος («big leather bag») meaning «a container (for money)». Among the synonyms for θυvλακος there is σακτηvρ (Hesych. s.v. σακτη' ρος) which is, as the author argues, a parallel form to the much discussed term σαστηv ρ in the Chersonesian city oath dated to the 3rd c. BC (IOSPE I2. 401, l. 24–25: το; ν σαστη' ρα τω' ι σαv μωι διαφυλαξω' ). Reconsidering earlier arguments, the author maintains that «bag» (and «money bag» in particular) being the main meaning of the word σαστηv ρ, in the Chersonesian oath metonymically denotes the polis treasury (cf. the semantic development of Gr. κιβωτοv ς or Lat. fiscus and arca). The suggested interpretation agrees well with the contents of the respective para- graph of the oath speaking of the duties of city magistrates and members of the city council: they swore to «keep the treasury for the people».

Keywords: Greek epigraphy, IOSPE, Chersonesus Taurica, North Black Sea region